The Introvert’s Guide to Navigating the Dating World

I’m just going to be honest…

I hate dating. I really do. I know some people love the thrill and excitement of dating, for me its a frustrating mixture of games and confusion.

This has less to do with the fact that I’m an introvert and more to do with the fact that I hate trying to figure out what he’s thinking and all of the different politics that go into courtship. I much prefer the comfy relationship phase.

Of course, dating is the necessary evil to get to that phase, right? So date I must.

But I’ve got some great news for my fellow introverts:

Since we thrive in one-on-one situations and get overwhelmed in groups,  it turns out we may actually have a bit of an advantage on dates over extroverts. Woot! So lets remind ourselves of our natural strengths beforehand and go into this thing with a surge of confidence.

Here’s some tips to help introverts navigate the dating world:

  1. Make sure the planned activity matches your personality. A low-key date, such as a trip to a museum or a nice dinner is a much better idea than going to a big party or a loud, trendy new bar. You want to be comfortable being yourself and dating in an uncomfortable atmosphere only makes that task more challenging.
  2. Allow silences. Don’t make the mistake of feeling like you need to fill every single second of the date with conversation. Sometimes we learn more about another person in the silences than we do in the conversation. Can you just be together and enjoy the art or the ambiance of the café without feeling you need to ramble on incessantly?
  3. Feel free to take a breather. If you’re feeling nervous or overwhelmed or just exhausted at having spent the last full hour with another human, its okay to take a short break. Go to the bathroom and catch your breath. Just remember to keep it short. You don’t want to be rude. I’d say no more than 5 minutes at the most.
  4. Stay present. We tend to put a lot of thought into what we are saying or how it may be perceived. Work hard on silencing your inner critic and focus your attention on your date and what they are saying.
  5. Preplan your exit strategy. Just because you’ve been having a swell time on your date does not necessarily mean you want it to last all night. Even in great company, we hit the point where we are exhausted and ready for some alone time. Anticipate this need in advance and have an exit strategy already planned. Maybe you have an early meeting or preexisting plans to meet a friend. Whatever it is, have it already in mind so that you are ready when the time comes to bid your adieus.
  6. Be yourself. There’s already something about you that your date is digging, otherwise you wouldn’t be going out in the first place. So nix that idea that you need to be something you’re not to impress them. Wear clothes that you feel happy and confident in and that express who you are. And don’t feel the need to counter your innate introversion by faking extreme extroversion. You may need to be a little chattier than usual, but no need to go over the top.

At the end of the day, dating is supposed to be fun. Its a time to potentially meet the peanut butter to your jelly. And who doesn’t love a good sandwich?

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